Cody Payne and Rickard Rakell scored hat tricks as the Plymouth Whalers won their seventh straight game, 9-1, over the Windsor Spitfires in an Ontario Hockey League game play Friday night at Compuware Arena before 2,604.
The Whalers’ seven-game winning streak is the team’s longest this season.
Plymouth improves to a season-best record of 33-16-5-4, good for 75 points and six points ahead of Sault Ste. Marie (32-21-3-2, 69 points) and Sarnia (33-24-0-3, 69 points). The Soo lost, 4-3, in overtime to London on Friday; Sarnia pounded Erie, 13-3, on Friday.
Windsor is now 23-29-1-6, good for 53 points and 11 points behind Saginaw for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with nine games left.
Plymouth has scored 26 goals over its last three games, defeating Guelph, 7-4 last Saturday, beating Sarnia, 10-2 on Monday and now pelting Windsor, 9-1, tonight.
Besides Payne’s first-ever hat trick (18-19-20th goals of the year) and Rakell’s second-ever hat trick (17-18-19), the Whalers received goals from Tom Wilson (18), Ryan Hartman (23) and Matt Mistele (31). In goal, Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 27-of-28 shots to improve his won-loss record to 12-1-1-1 over 18 games.
Former Whaler Alex Aleardi scored the lone Windsor goal in the third period, his 24th of the year.
Plymouth led, 3-0, after one period and 5-0 after forty minutes, pelting Windsor goaltender Jordan DeKort with 51 shots over 60 minutes while allowing 28.
The Whalers have had at least 50 shots per game in three wins against Windsor at Compuware Arena this season. On Nov. 9, Plymouth had 51 shots in a 5-3 win; on Nov. 21, the Whalers had 52 shots in a 3-0 victory and now 51 shots in tonight’s victory.
Plymouth remains at Compuware Arena on Saturday evening, hosting Sarnia at 7:05 p.m.